Commissioners Vote To Decrease Bed, Breakfast Rental License Fees

SNOW HILL – County leaders agreed last week to lower rental license fees for bed and breakfasts.

Annual rental license fees for bed and breakfasts in unincorporated sections of the county will decrease to $200 following a vote by the Worcester County Commissioners Oct. 5.

“I think next spring at budget time we’re going to have to look at all these fees once again,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.

Jennifer Keener, the county’s director of development review and permitting, said she’d reviewed license fees for bed and breakfasts at the commissioners’ request. Fees were established in 2019 and set at levels intended to establish a self-supporting licensing program. At that time, short-term dwelling rental licensing fees were reduced from $400 to $200, mobile home park unit fees dropped from $400 to $200 and long-term dwelling rental fees were dropped from $100 to $50. Licensing fees for bed and breakfasts weren’t discussed and so stayed at the proposed $400.

“Given that we only have two establishments in Worcester County in the unincorporated areas that are bed and breakfasts that are legally licensed, my recommendation if you do decide to reduce the fee, would be $250 which is consistent with our hotel/motel classification,” Keener said.

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Commissioner Josh Nordstrom spoke in favor of the reduction.

“This came up in discussion with the owners of the Mansion House Bed and Breakfast in Public Landing, one of the two that you mentioned,” he said.

Nordstrom said that because there were only two bed and breakfasts in the county it would be a minimal impact to the county financially if the fees were reduced. He added that hotels and motels could accommodate many guests, whereas the bed and breakfast only had six rooms.

“It seems to me that maybe it makes sense to lower it some,” he said.

Commissioner Ted Elder agreed and said he wanted to see the fee at $200, the same as it was for short-term rental establishments.

“A bed and breakfast is not like a hotel/motel,” he said, adding that hotels did way more business than bed and breakfasts did.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the fee reduction. Mitrecic, however, said license fees would likely be discussed again next year.

“As this program moves forward we’re going to have to assess where we are with it and what it’s costing us and the income that we have from it,” he said. “I will go along with this today but I think we’re going to have to have an overall look at it again before budget time.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.